Posts for May 1, 2012

Bagatelle Finally Accepts Its Boozy Brunch Fate, Starting May 12

Bagatelle fought bravely against its reputation as a Champagne-swilling Euro-zone brunch spot when it first opened in L.A. back in February, though we weren't really trying to hear that see, lest it cramp our crappy comedy. The restaurant is finally ready to serve its brunch on May 12, complete with a full menu of Champagne options (hate to say we told you so...), as well as cocktails, liquored-up punch bowls, and even solid food. When the party finally begins, chef Scott Quinn will offer signature French-Med dishes like Maine lobster suzette, vanilla maple French toast, green eggs and ham (pork belly and eggs with green apple hollandaise), banana pancakes with pralines, and probably some guy in a linen suit named Hugo or Cyrus whispering in your ear to invite you onto his yacht.

Lexington Social House Offers "Poor Man's Molecular Gastronomy" at New Sunday Supper Series

Jared SImons' pork saltimboccaPhoto: Ryan Forbes for Avablu

If Jared Simons, the executive chef at Lexington Social House who took over for Mette Williams in March, looks familiar, you were most likely a regular at Violet, the restaurant he owned and operated on Pico Blvd. before going on to work as a consultant for Steve Arroyo's Cobras and Matadors and Potato Chips. At his new gig in Hollywood, the inked-up chef tells Grub Street he's "trying to make dining fun," though he's probably not unaware of just how serious his Berkshire pork saltimbocca is.

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XIV Is Returning...For Some Reason

You weren't necessarily asking for it to come back into your life, but nonetheless SBE's XIV will return. The restaurant, originally intended as Michael Mina's West Hollywood showroom (a la The Bazaar with Jose Andres), will relaunch as some sort of party going down, well, exactly where it belongs: As a once-a-month "Summer Sessions" event held on the patio of The Colony and in SBE properties in both Vegas and Miami. The fun (?) returns on May 20, Eater reports. Now, if only we knew which XIV would appear, the one with burgers and floats, complicated tasting menu tiers, gussied up comfort eats, or fire-breathing circus freaks. [ELA; Earlier]

Enoteca Drago Brings Aboard New Chef and Menu

Enoteca Drago reaches out to announce the arrival of former Roy's chef Garrett Mukogawa as its new chef de cuisine. The SoCal Cordon Bleu-trained, Hawaii-seasoned chef is introducing a new menu of Italian dishes, with a few resuscitated from Drago, recently shuttered in Santa Monica. Mukogawa's new dishes include lamb belly with honeycomb and goat cheese, U-10 sea scallops in puttanesca, and tuna tartare with yuzu soy vinaigrette.

Roy Choi Considers Quitting Cooking, Carnivorism

Roy Choi

Roy Choi admits he's "been going through deep shit this week." In a post on his Riding Shotgun blog, Choi sounds disillusioned by the B.S. surrounding him following a rapid ascent up the ladder of mega-success and worldwide fame, post-Kogi. Choi, who reportedly has been working with high school students in South L.A., starts by slamming the recent dissection of the L.A. Riots' 20th anniversary and urges in his prose, "Hey adults, focus on what is burning down now." The forty-something chef goes on to claim he's been thinking of ditching the world of cooking and scorns his repeated experiences in trying to create something "special," only to have a bunch of crackers in suits (or so we imagine them) express nothing but concern over the "profitability" of his ideas.

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The Eleven Most Shockingly Gross Food-Industry Settlements

This week KFC's parent company was ordered to pay over $8 million in a settlement to the family of an Australian girl who suffered brain damage after eating the chain's chicken. The case is completely disturbing, but the scarier news is that it's hardly an isolated incident in the annals of fast food. In fact, it seems like every month we've got another good citizen falling prey to the industry's safety lapses and plain old stupidity. Here now, a look back at eleven such cases where food companies were pressed to settle with their victims customers, each one more disgusting and disconcerting than the one that came before.

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A Look at What's Cooking at Vic Casanova's Gusto, Open Tonight on 3rd Street

Tonight chef Victor Casanova opens Gusto, leaving Culina behind for the trattoria of his dreams on Third Street. Casanova's menu bulks up The Boot's tradition with selections of antipasti, six handmade pasta selections, four brick-oven pizzas, five mains, and a few market-sourced contorni. With a big dash of imagination and equal respect for the past, Vic's starters include whipped baccala croquettes, veal sweetbread milanese, and a tartare of beef heart and black garlic, while pastas vary from a square spaghetti with tomato and peperoncino to the chef's ricotta gnocchi with wild mushrooms and marsala. Entrees find the chef making hangar steak from Harvey Guss beef with funghi misti, pork shoulder braciole with dandelion greens, and wild king salmon with hen of the woods mushrooms. Fresh, direct, local, and robust appears to be the realization of Casanova's aspirations here and we caught an early look at Gusto's cooking prior to tonight's grand-opening. Take a look and see the dinner menu below.

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What to Drink at La Cuevita, Open Friday in Highland Park

Inside La CuevitaPhoto: 1933 Group

This Friday, May 4, The 1933 Group's transformation of Little Cave into La Cuevita will be revealed to Highland Park as an agave-focused cocktail lounge headed up by Oldfield's Jared Mort and Thirsty Crow's Cooper Gillespie. The space has seen some new nips and tucks, as co-owner and designer Bobby Green has stripped the dark bar back to its original 60-year-old wood beams and brick walls, and dotted the landscape with Mexican curios and antiques, including stained glass, aged leather stools, salvaged marble, and century-old church doors. Signage, one of the few remaining vestiges of Little Cave, will stay though a new mural on the front will post the bar's new name, while two outdoor patios will keep things breezy. So, more importantly, what will you drink?

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Fall Into Line: The Case for the ‘Buffet Rule’

Total chaos.Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Like many Americans, I follow political news for the sole purpose of not being embarrassed during telephone civics surveys. I scan the headlines grudgingly and am easily distracted by things like college football and food. This practice has caused me confusion regarding the so-called Buffett Rule. In reality, the rule has something to do with taxes. But "Buffett Rule" is easily misread as "Buffet Rule," i.e., a reference to the method of distributing food that combines eating old scrambled eggs with the convenience of having to get them yourself. (The buffet proprietor's motto: "We're barely trying.") But during one misreading, it hit me: The buffet industry, currently regulated only by informal etiquette, could use some more substantive oversight of its own.

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Fig Newtons Sounded Too Laxative-y, Now Just ‘Newtons’

The Puff Daddy/Diddy of snacks.

Who knew? Fig Newtons have dropped the "Fig" and now go exclusively by the name "Newtons." “We needed to let fruit be the core of the brand as opposed to the fig,” said a spokesperson, alluding to various fig-killers like chewy strawberry and pomegranate. Also, the word fig is associated with "prune," which is associated with IBS and old people, “and that’s not good.” [NYT]

Rick Bayless Isn’t Feeling the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List

"I'm studying Pellegrino list of World's 50 Best Restaurants 2012. Does anyone else think it's an odd collection&wonder how it's arrived at?" —Rick Bayless on yesterday's announcement, with Noma yet again being named best restaurant in the world. [Rick Bayless/Twitter]

KFC Ordered to Pay Millions After Customer Gets Chicken-Related Brain Damage

Don't lick those fingers just yet.

And you probably thought the Double Down was the most dangerous thing on KFC's menu: A judge ordered the chain's parent company to pay one Australian family $8 million AUD ($8.3 million USD) after one of its Twister chicken wraps gave a girl permanent brain damage.

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